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Chicago also began last year's postseason run with a shutout, beating San Francisco 1-0 behind Lester. Gio Gonzalez will start, but everyone at the Nationals' head office will most likely be holding their collective breath in fear of how badly this decision could turn out. Gio Gonzalez flew out to left fielder Ian Happ on a 1-1 pitch.

And Gonzalez (15-9, 2.96 ERA) is not a awful option.

Gonzalez appeared to be positively influenced by the arrival of veteran catcher Matt Wieters. He got the call because of Scherzer's situation. "In playoff games, every pitch is important". But they weren't always facing a guy like Stephen Strasburg. "He understands certain situations". "I would want to believe that coming into this year, we have an eagerness about us without an anxiety about us". "I'm not by any means mad". Maybe some just think it's the Nats' year.

The key for the Nats is to find a way to get their offense going after being shut out in Game 1. "Took the late bus for the first time", said Lester, 9-7 lifetime in 14 different postseason series. He has the confidence to make a pitch when he needs to.

"You have to pay attention to the running game", Hendricks said Thursday. "In terms of the history and trying to repeat, we're just focused on trying to winning ball games". "I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but it was a bit of a downer, and we hope that things subside and work themselves out".

"They're very good, they're deep, and they have got a number of ways to beat you", he said.

But a best-of-five it is and, as the saying goes, something's got to give. "The first two at-bats he made me look silly". His strikeouts per nine innings was 8.7. Since the Cubs acquired Quintana, he has gone 7-3 with 3.74 ERA.

Being better isn't just about scoring more runs. Batters hit.175 against him with RISP.

A two-out intentional walk to Altuve, the major league batting champion this season, led to a two-run double by Correa. This season he went 4-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 15 starts at home. I'm not upset. Wasn't going to be a Game 1 starter, opening-day starter for the rest of my career, so I mean at some point somebody's got to take it over.

Strasburg's numbers are a shade better overall on the road, but he still has a 2.75 ERA while pitching from his home mound.

The right-hander went five innings in a 2014 game against the San Francisco Giants, but otherwise was shut down for the 2012 playoffs a year after having Tommy John surgery, then was sidelined by an arm injury at the end of last season.

And if we're thinking that, they must be, too. They're evenly matched in nearly all respects, really.

"Strasburg threw a great game". The Cubs scored eight runs or more in those games, and 10 or more in three of them.

"This is as good as I've seen him", Cubs manager Joe Maddon said". "That's a lineup that can do magic one through nine, so you have to respect it, whoever they put out there".

When asked what it would mean to him to win, fan-favorite outfielder Jayson Werth said it simply: "Everything".

Today, Gonzalez seeks his first postseason victory.


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